The History of the Port at Pugwash

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), in-person at the Halifax Public Library. To join the lecture virtually, click the Zoom link here.

Stephen Leahey was raised in Pugwash. His early education was in a one-room schoolhouse. He graduated from the Technical University of Nova Scotia, Queen’s University, and attended William’s College in Massachusetts. An Honourary Citizen of Winnipeg and a Lieutenant in the 78th Fraser Highlanders, he has received/holds an Honourary Doctor of Laws from Saint Mary’s University. Reading widely and being naturally curious led him to relating the history of his village in two books which he has donated to the Cumberland County Museum. Neither a scholar nor an academic, in his research and treatment Leahey relies extensively on the work of others who have undertaken the basic research and writing. His books are designed/intended to be sold locally by the museum.

Abstract: The configuration of the Port of Pugwash, a seagoing harbour at the end of a long bay on the Northumberland Strait, easily shields its presence. This feature was exploited first by Nicolas Deny for a trading post, then by French aristocrats from Trois-Rivières to funnel agricultural products from their marsh-based seigneuries to Fort Louisbourg, and finally by the British in London who tapped it for their masts and naval stores. With rare exceptions, London prohibited settlement near the harbour, specifically between River Philip and Tatamagouche, until the Westchester Refugees arrived in 1784.





Black Roots and white roots intertwined in Nova Scotia’s Tree of History

Wednesday, March 20th, 2024, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), in-person at the Halifax Public Library. Here is the Zoom link.

Karen Hudson is a dedicated educator and principal at Auburn Drive High School. She has chaired, co-founded, and participated on boards including the Freedom School, Africentric Learning Institute, Connecting to Africa, and the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq committee at Dalhousie Law School. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Nova Scotia Teachers Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Nova Scotia Family Volunteer Award. She is also featured in John Morrison’s book The IT Factor: Discover and Unleash Your Own Unique Leadership Potential. Karen is an alum of MSVU (2005) and in 2019 she was recognized Nationally as an Outstanding Principal by the Learning Partnership.

Kathrin Winkler is a retired teacher, peace activist, artist, mother, and grandmother. Nova Scotia’s rich and hidden histories reveal critical areas for repair necessary for moving forward to justice. For her, art is a practice and the imagination is the territory that sprouts change. She is a Nova Scotia VOW member; a Thousand Harbours Zen sangha member and she loves swimming in the ocean.

Abstract: Marcus Garvey famously wrote: “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and
culture is like a tree without roots.” 15 Ships left Halifax harbour on January 15, 1792 and the ripples that caused the conditions leading to this epic journey are evident to this day, yet still not fully known. The #1792Project’s aim to share the history of the 1,196 Black Loyalists by creating unique personal connections, continues in a letter-writing campaign. We will share the perspectives of students and community participants and how we hope to continue keeping the history of the 15 Ships to Sierra Leone alive.

The Inequalities of Integration: A History of Space and Race at Graham Creighton High School

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), in-person at the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia (10 Cherry Brook Road). Here is the Zoom link to virtually attend this lecture.

Stefanie Slaunwhite is a Ph.D. Candidate at University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Her current research examines the histories of medicine, education and disability at the Dr. W.F. Robert’s Hospital-School in Saint John, New Brunswick, from 1965-85. Her presentation for the RNSHS is based on her article published in 2022 with Acadiensis, entitled “To hell with the people in Preston: The Inequalities of Integration at Graham Creighton High School, Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia, 1964-1979.” 

Abstract: Graham Creighton High School was a pilot project for integration in the relatively isolated Eastern Shore Area of the County of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The school in Cherry Brook opened as an integrated institution in 1964. It served as the space for students from the surrounding Black and adjacent white communities to be brought together in adherence to the local school board’s integration policy. But while integration was the board’s policy, it was often not implemented in practice.

Labour, Enslavement and Indigenous Space: Liverpool, Nova Scotia in the Atlantic World, 1759-1812

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), in-person at the Halifax Public Library. You can watch it virtual on Zoom here. 

Amber Laurie is the Acting Curator of Marine History for the Nova Scotia Museum and a PhD student at Dalhousie University. Her MA thesis research examines labour, enslavement, and Indigenous space in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, from 1759-1812. Although her research focuses on the early modern period, the concept of freedom, however it is defined and experienced, is what unites her interest in history across centuries.

Abstract: This thesis reconceptualizes the Planter and Loyalist periods around Liverpool, Nova Scotia, from 1759 to 1812. Rather than privileging the American Revolutionary War, it emphasises Indigenous space and Black people to study this shared place. Drawing on the diaries of Simeon Perkins and Mi’kmaw concepts, Msit No’kmaq and Siawa’sik, it explores how the space was re-formed with the arrival of the Planters. It also examines the development of enslavement and abolition in Liverpool through biographies to show how power imbalances informed lived experiences. This thesis argues that by de-emphasising the American Revolutionary War and loyalism narratives in the Northeast, it reveals the region was marked by power imbalances and labour relations continually being formed and re-formed. It suggests that the American Revolutionary War was not the defining moment of slaveholding in Nova Scotia, but part of a multi-phased process that grew incrementally and was sustained by settlers throughout this period.

A “second Captain Dreyfus affair”: Joseph Bernstein’s Halifax experience

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Public Library (Unfortunately there will be no Zoom option tonight – we apologize for this inconvenience). 

Judith Fingard is a retired Dalhousie University history professor and a Fellow of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society as well as the Royal Society of Canada. For her publications, see her website: judithfingard.com

Abstract: In 1892 Joseph Bernstein arrived in Halifax where he shared with other members of the small Jewish community a typical pattern of commercial employment until 1899 when he became an immigration interpreter at Pier 2, the Deep Water Terminus. His stable work life came to an abrupt halt in 1908 when he was dismissed from the government service. At first he blamed this turn of events on the vindictiveness of five Jewish families involved in a dispute over the suitability of a marriage partner for the third Bernstein daughter. When he delved deeper he decided that antisemitism had determined his fate. Bernstein’s identification with Alfred Dreyfus may have been inspired by cinematic depictions of the injustice endured by that French soldier.

An Architect’s View on Nova Scotian History: Part II

Join us Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 7 p.m. via Zoom or in person at the Halifax Public Library, Spring Garden Road.

 

Syd Dumaresq will lead us through a lively discussion of the connections between our colourful history, our wonderful Architectural heritage and the people and stories behind the scenes, with particular emphasis on the Architects.

 

Syd is a fourth-generation Architect with a keen interest in history. Syd is delighted to be practicing Architecture with his son Dean. Syd and Sandy, his wife and business partner, live in Chester and are the proud parents of five children and nine grandchildren.

 

Syd’s other passions are community, the environment and sailing. Syd is Chair of the Friends of Nature Conservation Society, sits on the Chester Village Planning Advisory Committee and is secretary to the board of the Mahone Islands Conservation Association (MICA).

An Architect’s View of Nova Scotian History: Part II (November 15th)

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Public Library, or online via Zoom 

Syd Dumaresq: Syd is a fourth generation Architect with a keen interest in history and is delighted to be practicing Architecture with his son, Dean. Syd and Sandy, his wife and business partner, live in Chester and are the proud parents of five children and nine grandchildren. Syd’s other passions are community, the environment, and sailing. He is Chair of the Friends of Nature Conservation Society, sits on the Chester Village Planning Advisory Committee, and is secretary to the board of the Mahone Islands Conservation Association (MICA).

Abstract: Syd Dumaresq will lead us through a lively discussion of the connections between our colorful history, our wonderful Architectural heritage, and the people and stories behind the scenes with particular emphasis on the Architects.

An Architect’s View of Nova Scotian History (October 18th)

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Saint Mary’s University (Sobey Building room 255) or online via Zoom at this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86447004134?pwd=BShqfUOpZxhyR9Xskie36fiiCCiMSv.1

Syd Dumaresq: Syd is a fourth generation Architect with a keen interest in history and is delighted to be practicing Architecture with his son, Dean. Syd and Sandy, his wife and business partner, live in Chester and are the proud parents of five children and nine grandchildren. Syd’s other passions are community, the environment, and sailing. He is Chair of the Friends of Nature Conservation Society, sits on the Chester Village Planning Advisory Committee, and is secretary to the board of the Mahone Islands Conservation Association (MICA).

Abstract: Syd Dumaresq will lead us through a lively discussion of the connections between our colorful history, our wonderful Architectural heritage, and the people and stories behind the scenes with particular emphasis on the Architects.

Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Canada’s Greatest Spy

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Saint Mary’s University (Sobey Building room 255) or online via Zoom at the following link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84249054435?pwd=P6wyI7RFnTh1NfaU1Ki4vFhw9trawF.1  

 

Jason Bell: PhD, professor of philosophy at the University of New Brunswick

Abstract: In public life, Dr. Winthrop Bell of Halifax and Toronto was a Harvard philosophy professor and wealthy businessman. As MI6 secret agent A12, he evaded gunfire and shook off pursuers to break open the emerging Nazi conspiracy in 1919 Berlin. His reports, the first warning of the Nazi plot for WWII, went directly to the man known as C, the mysterious founder of MI6, and to prime ministers. But a powerful fascist politician quietly worked to suppress his alerts. Nevertheless, his intelligence sabotaged the Nazis in ways only now revealed. Bell became a spy once again in the face of WWII. In 1939, he was the first to crack Hitler’s deadliest secret code: the Holocaust. At that time, the führer was a popular politician who said he wanted peace. Could anyone believe Bell’s shocking warning? Fighting an epic intelligence war from Ukraine, Russia and Poland to France, Germany, Canada and Washington, DC, A12 was the real-life 007, waging a single-handed fight against madmen bent on destroying the world. Without Bell’s astounding courage, the Nazis could have won the war.

 

Click here for a bio of Jason Bell

“Marking” Identity and Respectability: Halifax’s African School and Scholars of the Needle

Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) or click here to join online via Zoom 

 

Lisa Bower: Assistant Curator and Registrar (Cultural History), Nova Scotia Museum

Abstract: Embroidered pictures composed of text and images known as “samplers” were commonly produced by nineteenth-century white settler schoolgirls across Nova Scotia. A remarkable example made in 1845, by a student at Halifax’s African School, proves the practice was also a part of the Black schoolgirl experience. Samplers changed over time and served multiple purposes. Needlework instruction and production became a paradoxical experience for its students, particularly for young Black Haligonians, simultaneously representing oppression and empowerment.  

Click here for a bio of Lisa Bower